Lakewood Tragedy: Time for a Change in Criminal Justice Policy?

The front page of Tuesday’s Kitsap Sun presented readers with two stories related to criminal justice: the cutting of corrections officers and Kitsap cops’ response to the tragedy in Lakewood.

I wasn’t alone in wondering this question: How can we be cutting corrections officers — a scaling back of the criminal justice system — just as a man slaughters four police officers execution style?

Today, the Christian Science Monitor’s editorial board cautions against letting anger in this “exceptional” case drive policy decisions.

” … The risk of a high-profile case such as Clemmons’s is that it will bring a backlash leading to a wrong policy,” they wrote. “That it will continue to discourage clemency, for instance, or that it will somehow slow the momentum toward reform.”

Is it time to chance policy in criminal justice — particularly in the way pardons and commutations are doled — in the wake of this tragedy? What do you think?

One thought on “Lakewood Tragedy: Time for a Change in Criminal Justice Policy?

  1. I theorize that we would save law and justice dollars by keeping repeat violent offenders in jail/prison longer. When they cycle through the system so frequently (i.e. charged with another crime while out on bail awaiting trial for an earlier crime or while on parole) then we incur the cost of prosecuting them for the additional crimes and the cost of the damage that those crimes impart (both intrinsic and fiscally) on additional (or repeat) victims.

    I hope that the horrific tragedy of the Lakewood case is a wake-up call to legislators across our state and across the country that we must get tough with repeat violent offenders and not give them further opportunity to victimize others.

    Nine children lost their parent in one horrible example. We cannot bring those officers back. But we can insist that our legislators become serious about protecting society from violent repeat offenders.

    Kathryn Simpson

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